23 November 2008

Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey blog

Screenshot of the "MICS For All" blogThe Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) are household surveys carried out in developing countries with the support of UNICEF to collect data on the situation of children and women. The most recent round of MICS surveys was conducted between 2005 and 2007 in more than 40 countries. MICS data and documentation are available at the Childinfo website of UNICEF.

MICS surveys are among the sources of data analyzed on this site. MICS data were used in articles on trends in primary education in Nepal, children out of school in India, child labor and school attendance in Bolivia, education disparity trends in South Asia, global data on child labor and school attendance, household wealth and years of education, the link between years of schooling and literacy, and other studies.

UNICEF staff members working on the MICS have launched a new blog at globalmics.blogspot.com. The goal of the blog is "to facilitate information sharing between different organizations and individuals involved with MICS implementation around the world" and "to play the role of an unofficial, informal forum to share information on MICS activities." Articles posted since the launch have treated a variety of topics, among them acronyms and abbreviations related to MICS, members of the global MICS team, and the evaluation of the latest round of MICS.

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Friedrich Huebler, 23 November 2008, Creative Commons License
Permanent URL: http://huebler.blogspot.com/2008/11/mics.html

16 November 2008

Pupil/teacher ratio in secondary school

The pupil/teacher ratio is an indicator of education quality. In crowded classrooms with a high number of pupils per teacher the quality of education suffers. For pupils it is difficult to follow the course and teachers can dedicate less time to the needs of each individual student. Data from UNESCO on the pupil/teacher ratio in primary school show that crowded classrooms are more common in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia than in other parts of the world. 22 of the 27 countries with 40 or more pupils per primary school teacher are located in Sub-Saharan Africa.

In secondary school, pupil/teacher ratios are lower than in primary school. The Data Centre of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics provides the pupil/teacher ratio in secondary school for 189 countries and territories. For 100 countries, the pupil/teacher ratios are from 2006, 9 countries have data from 2007, 51 countries have data from 2004 or 2005, and the remaining 29 countries have data from 1999 to 2003. For the map below, all countries with data were divided into five groups:
  • Fewer than 10 pupils per teacher: 24 countries
  • 10 to 19 pupils per teacher: 107 countries
  • 20 to 29 pupils per teacher: 41 countries
  • 30 to 39 pupils per teacher: 13 countries
  • 40 or more pupils per teacher: 4 countries
Pupil/teacher ratio in secondary school, circa 2006
Map of the world showing national pupil/teacher ratios in secondary school
Data source: UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Data Centre, May 2008.

The lowest pupil/teacher ratios in secondary school were reported for Bermuda (6.0), Tokelau (7.0), Portugal (7.1), and Andorra (7.8). 20 additional countries have pupil/teacher ratios above 8 and below 10: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Croatia, Georgia, Greece, Kuwait, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Malta, Monaco, Niue, Norway, Qatar, Russia, Sweden, and Turks and Caicos Islands.

More than half of all countries - including most countries in North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, and East Asia - have pupil/teacher ratios between 10 and 19. The group also includes some countries in other regions. Although pupil/teacher ratios in Sub-Saharan Africa are generally higher than in other parts of the world, the following countries from the region have only 10 to 19 pupils per secondary school teacher: Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritius, Seychelles, and Swaziland. 22 of the 41 countries with pupil/teacher ratios between 20 and 29 are also located in Sub-Saharan Africa.

17 countries have 30 or more pupils per teacher in secondary school and 10 of these countries are in Sub-Saharan Africa. The countries with 30 to 39 pupils per teacher are Chad, Congo, Djibouti, Honduras, India, Kenya, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Nicaragua, Philippines, South Africa, and Zambia. Classes at the secondary level of education are most crowded in Nigeria (pupil/teacher ratio 40.2), Pakistan (41.9), Malawi (45.6), and Eritrea (54.4).

The following table lists the average pupil/teacher ratio in secondary school by Millennium Development Goal region. The Commonwealth of Independent States (10.9), the developed countries (11.4), Oceania (14.8), Western Asia (15.3), Latin America and the Caribbean (16.6), Eastern Asia (19.0), and Northern Africa (19.0) have average pupil/teacher ratios below 20. Pupil/teacher ratios are highest in South-Eastern Asia (22.8), Sub-Saharan Africa (25.8), and Southern Asia (26.4). The global average is 18.0 pupils per teacher in secondary school. These average values are unweighted, which means that each country is given the same weight within its region, regardless of the size of its population.

Average pupil/teacher ratio in secondary school by MDG region, circa 2006
MDG region
Pupil/teacher ratio
Developed countries 11.4
Commonwealth of Independent States 10.9
Eastern Asia 19.0
South-Eastern Asia 22.8
Oceania 14.8
Southern Asia 26.4
Western Asia 15.3
Northern Africa 19.0
Sub-Saharan Africa 25.8
Latin America and the Caribbean 16.6
World 18.0
Data source: UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Data Centre, May 2008. Regional and global averages are unweighted.

The data analyzed in this article can be downloaded from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics Data Centre, under Predefined Tables - Education - Table 11: Indicators on teaching staff at ISCED levels 0 to 3.

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Friedrich Huebler, 16 November 2008, Creative Commons License
Permanent URL: http://huebler.blogspot.com/2008/11/ptr.html

08 November 2008

School attendance in Brazil

Brazil is the largest and most populous country in South America. The Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) estimates that the population of Brazil grew to 190 million in 2008. The World Bank ranks Brazil as the world's tenth largest economy with a gross domestic product (GDP) of $1.3 trillion in 2007.

Brazil has achieved high levels of school attendance and literacy. The UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) estimates that 94 percent of all children of primary school age were enrolled in primary school in 2005, the latest year with data. The youth literacy rate, for persons aged 15 to 24 years, was 99 percent in 2007 according to the UIS. Among the adult population aged 15 years and older, 91 percent were literate in 2007. In contrast, in 1980 only 75 percent of the adult population of Brazil could read and write.

The patterns of school attendance in Brazil can be studied in greater detail with data from the 2006 National Household Sample Survey (Pesquisa Nacional por Amostra de DomicĂ­lios, PNAD). The survey collected data on current and past school attendance for all household members, regardless of age. For the analysis that follows, the levels of education in the PNAD data were recoded to match the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) of 1997. Five levels of education are identified:
  • Pre-primary education
  • Primary education
  • Secondary education
  • Tertiary education
  • Adult literacy programs
Adult literacy programs are not part of the ISCED classification but they play an important role in Brazil and are therefore included as a separate group. The graph below illustrates current school attendance by age and level of education for the population aged 0 to 30 years. The number at the top of each bar is the percent of persons of a particular age that are currently in school. For example, 97 percent of all 7-year-olds were in school at the time of the survey; the majority attended primary school but more than 10 percent of all 7-year-olds were still in preschool.

The official school ages in Brazil are indicated along the horizontal axis. The official entrance age for pre-primary education is 4 years, primary education begins at 7 years, and secondary education at 11 years. Education is compulsory for all children aged 7 to 14 years.

Brazil: Current school attendance by age and level of education, 2006
Level of education attended for persons 0 to 30 years, Brazil 2006
Data source: Brazil National Household Sample Survey (PNAD), 2006.

The PNAD data show that many young children in Brazil attend pre-primary education. Two thirds of all children between 4 and 6 years are in preschool or day care. The laws on compulsory education have the desired effect and almost all children between 7 and 14 years are in fact in school. The attendance rates in this age group range from 94 percent among 14-year-olds to 99 percent among 8- to 11-year-olds. Among children of secondary school age, the attendance rate drops steadily from 99 percent at age 11 to 74 percent at age 17. About 8 percent of 18-year-olds are in tertiary education. University attendance rates reach a peak of 15 percent among 20- to 22-year-olds.

Overage school attendance is relatively common in Brazil and many children older than 10 years are still in primary school. Persons up to and beyond age 30 attend secondary education. These high levels of primary and secondary school attendance among the older population are partly a result of a system of education that offers persons who dropped out of school an opportunity to continue their education later in life. Adult literacy programs reach a relatively small part of the population but they contribute to the high level of literacy in Brazil. About 0.5 to 1 percent of the population between 30 and 75 years participate in programs that teach reading and writing.

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Friedrich Huebler, 8 November 2008 (edited 24 January 2009), Creative Commons License
Permanent URL: http://huebler.blogspot.com/2008/11/brazil.html

01 November 2008

Education disparity trends in South Asia

An article on education disparity in South Asia described a newly developed Education Parity Index (EPI). This index combines data on primary school attendance, secondary school attendance and the survival rate to the last grade of primary school, disaggregated by gender, area of residence and household wealth. The value of the EPI has a theoretical range of 0 to 1, where 1 indicates absolute parity.

Through a combination of survey data from several years it is possible to analyze trends in disparity as measured by the EPI. For the trend analysis, data from the following South Asian household surveys - mainly Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) and Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) - were available.
  • Afghanistan: 2003 MICS
  • Bangladesh: 1999-2000 DHS, 2004 DHS, 2006 DHS
  • India: 1998-99 DHS, 2000 MICS, 2005-06 DHS
  • Nepal: 1996 DHS, 2000 MICS, 2001 DHS, 2006 DHS
  • Pakistan: 2000-01 survey, 2006-07 DHS
The graph below plots the EPI values calculated from each survey. Due to a lack of data, no trends can be shown for Afghanistan.

Education disparity trends in South Asia, 1996-2007
Trend lines with Education Parity Index values between 1996 and 2007
Data source: Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS), Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS), 1996-2007.

In Bangladesh, India and Nepal, the EPI has increased from the earliest to the latest year with data, indicating a decrease in disparity over the period of observation. In Bangladesh, the EPI grew from 0.79 in 2000 to 0.84 in 2006. In India, the EPI was at 0.77 in 1999 and 0.82 in 2006. In Nepal, the EPI shows the biggest increase, from 0.67 in 1996 to 0.83 in 2006, interrupted by a decrease from 2000 to 2001. Compared to the other countries, Nepal has thus made the most progress toward parity in the education system.

For Pakistan, the EPI has decreased from 2000 to 2007, indicating an increase in disparity. However, an inspection of the underlying data reveals that the earlier survey did not provide data on household wealth. Disparities related to wealth are usually greater than disparities related to gender or area of residence. If data on wealth had been available, the EPI for 2000 would most likely have been lower. The data from the 2006-07 DHS confirm this assumption. Children from the poorest quintile have much lower attendance and survival rates than children from the richest quintile, and the disparity between these two groups of children is much greater than the disparity between boys and girls and between children from urban and rural households. For example, the primary school net attendance rate (NAR) in Pakistan is 46 percent among children from the poorest household quintile but twice as high, 93 percent, among children from the richest quintile. In comparison, the primary NAR is 76 percent for boys, 67 percent for girls, 82 percent for urban children, and 67 percent for rural children according to the 2006-07 DHS.

The data gaps in the graph bring to attention one limitation of the EPI. The net enrollment rate and other data published annually by UNESCO in the Global Education Digest or the Education For All Global Monitoring Report are not disaggregated beyond gender and can therefore not be used to calculate the EPI. On the other hand, national household survey data, which permit the required level of disaggregation, are not collected every year but only every four or five years, on average.

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Friedrich Huebler, 1 November 2008 (edited 22 November 2008), Creative Commons License
Permanent URL: http://huebler.blogspot.com/2008/11/south-asia.html